Best Travel Backpacks for Women

Susan T.
By Susan T. / November 9, 2016

When it comes to traveling you always want to be sure that you have the best supplies. When you are going on longer trips sometimes you need a sturdy and comfortable travel backpack to make things easier. A travel backpack is great because it zips open similar to a suitcase and makes it easy to access your clothing. Without the proper quality materials you will end up with your items destroyed and even a severe amount of back pain. As someone who loves to travel as much as I can, I know the importance of having the right travel gear. I have looked long and hard for the right backpack, but my first few attempts certainly did not fair well. Failed purchase after failed purchase, I finally decided to do my research so that I could find the best travel backpack. As a way to help your fearless travelers, I have a compiled a useful list of the best bags for traveling.

Travel Backpack Comparison Table

Image

Model

Size

Weight

Price

Rating

Kelty Women's Redwing Backpack

12 x 23 x 14 in.

2.6 lbs.

$$

Osprey Farpoint Travel Backpack

14 x 21 x 15 in.

3 lbs.

$$$

Deuter Transit 50

25 x 13 x 10 in.

5.2 lbs

$$$

KAKA Tactical Backpack

13 x 8 x 22 in.

2.5 lbs.

$

Venture Pal Lightweight Backpack

8.5 x 2.2 x 9 in.

0.7 lbs

$

This bag is my personal favorite and is designed perfectly for a woman's figure. It can be challenging finding a travel backpack that fits to your shape, but this is necessary for optimal comfort. If the bag slides or slopes wrong it will really end up causing you a lot of back pain. There are many ways to adjust the straps which makes it easier to find a setting that will be most comfortable for you. It can definitely hold all of your items and zips open for easy access. It is a top loading pack and the top lid converts into a sling pack. It has plenty of pockets and great ventilation.

2. Osprey Farpoint Travel Backpack

This is one of the most popular travel backpacks on the market and with good reason. It is made of very high quality materials that will withstand your long trips and various wear. It comes in several sizes, which is great for someone who would prefer something smaller like the 40L, or wants a larger 70L. It contains loops that allow for a locking mechanism which can be rather handy. It has great padding in the shoulders to increase your comfort. After thorough research this bag has proven to be one of the most impressive options on the market. The suspension system is the same as with a hiking backpack, so it adds quite a bit of comfort.

This backpack is a great mix between the hiking bag and the travel bag. It has nice padding in the shoulders and good suspension to help make things much more comfortable. The shoulder strap gives you the option to wear it as a messenger bag if you would like. One of the most impressive features of this bag is that it allows you to adjust the torso size. This is actually rather rare and gives you the opportunity to adjust things to fit properly to you. It has great storing space for your dirty clothes, which helps to keep things organized within your space.

4. KAKA Tactical Backpack

This bag is made of the most durable materials and will withstand a lot of damages. It has a total of ten pockets which makes it a great option. It is extremely stylish and will definitely gain you many compliments. It has a detachable shoulders strap which gives you the choice of how you want to wear it. It also has a water resistant lining which is a great features if you are planning on going into potentially wet or rainy areas.

5. Venture Pal Lightweight Backpack

This bag is made from extremely durable and comfortable material, with adjustable straps to fit your body. It is an extremely lightweight choice that is also very lightweight. If you are someone who enjoys a more easy to maneuver bag than this one is definitely the right choice for you. A great choice for the warmer weather since it has strong and breathable material.

For someone who enjoys having a backpack to keep all of your items safe, it is important to find the right one for you. Some options can fall apart and will only make the problem worse. You want a high quality material, with the right size proportions to fit your specific needs. It is important to understand that regular hiking backpacks aren't quite the same as a travel bag. You want something that allows for you to access your items with ease and will hold up strong through your trip. Also be sure to read about our Best Check-In Luggage for travelers and Best Travel Backpacks (Unisex).

Best Check-In Luggage for the Constant Traveler

Susan T.
By Susan T. / November 8, 2016

Don't you just love being able to hop on a plane and take flight to new and exciting destinations? As someone who enjoys traveling rather frequently, I have found that it can be difficult buying the right products to fit my desires. Shuffling through various online luggage reviews can be an exhausting burden, and honestly who has the patience for it? From years of personal experience and many logged in personal man (woman?) hours, I have decided to provide you lovely readers with some of my knowledge. So here is a provided list of the very best check-in luggage that your well earned money can buy!

Check-In Luggage Comparison Table

Image

Model

Size

Weight

Price

Rating

Samsonite Winfield2 Fashion 28"

19.8 x 12.5

x 28 in.

14.4 lbs.

$$$

Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Spinner 28"

28.5 x 20.5 x 13.5 in.

14.8 lbs.

$$

Travelpro Maxlite 4 Expandable Rollaboard 26"

26 x 18.5 x 11 in.

11.3 lbs

$$

J World Vinewood 25" Wheel Duffel Bag

25 x 13 x 11.5 in.

6.8 lbs.

$

Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 25" Express Spinner Suiter

25 x 18 x 11.2 in.

14.7 lbs

$

While looking through various luggage reviews, I stumbled upon this not-so-little angel. My personal pick for the absolute best checked luggage, goes to this piece. I have found myself being stopped and complimented by many people over this stylish and sleek design. It looks great but I do recommend purchasing it in black, since scuffing on hard luggage does occur easily. I personally love the size and the fact that I can roll it around rather easily. It is lightweight enough that I don't find myself constantly struggling to get around, since I am a rather small female this is of great benefit to me.

2. Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Spinner 28" Luggage

If you are in search of a larger check-in piece of travel luggage, then you are in luck with this beauty. This magnificent beast can carry pretty much anything you need, as long as you are careful to stay within the weight requirements of your airline. She is sturdy and handles like a dream, but keep in mind that the size is rather overwhelming at times. As a lady who enjoys being able to have her options, I am rather pleased with a suitcase that allows for me to stuff it full of my favorite clothing. As far as hard sided luggage goes, the Omni Hardside Spinner by Samsonite is an excellent pick.

It may not be the flashiest piece of luggage you own, but it will certainly satisfy you as a traveler. Many people who enjoy traveling know that the flashier bags are often the ones that get targeted more for theft. This suitcase is easy to maneuver and will be able to store all of your needs for a long trip. It is a very durable piece of soft sided luggage and it's simple look is still very attractive. This is a rather lightweight option and is good for anyone who struggles to stay within the weight limit for their bags.

4. BEST BUDGET PICK - J World Vinewood 25" Wheel Duffel Bag

For such a great price, this piece of luggage will not leave you feeling disappointed. I love the look and style of this piece and also enjoy how easy it is to maneuver. Larger bags are usually challenging to handle but I find that this one has a nice rolling capacity. It also has plenty of space to fit whatever you need for a longer trip. The zippers glide rather nicely and are of the highest quality materials. Many times when you spend less on your bags they end up falling apart, but the J World Vinewood Duffel is extremely durable and will hold up on those long trips.

5. Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 25" Express Spinner Suiter

This is a really excellent bag with plenty of high online luggage reviews to back it up. It is a decent price for such a durable and well crafted piece, which makes it an excellent option for just about anyone. It holds much more than you would expect from viewing it externally and will handle beautifully. Although it is more expensive than the other options on our list, it will definitely last you a very long time without wearing down. This is a very well made piece that you would be proud to travel with.

Anyone who loves to travel knows how important it is to find the right travel luggage. The process of searching online can be both exhausting and time consuming. I can guarantee that you will be pleased with one of these fine bags, and I honestly just enjoy this opportunity to share my personal research with you.

Always take your time testing out your bag and remember to consider your travel needs before purchasing. Each traveler has their own specific requirements that make their personal experience unique. For example, I am a lady who enjoys plenty of space and a nice looking piece of luggage. It is important that you find what is right for you while you are flying across the friendly skies. And if you'd like to see some great backpacks to bring on your trip, check out the Best Travel Backpacks for Women.

Best Travel Backpacks

John C.
By John C. / November 8, 2016

Packing for an exciting travel adventure means the time to leave is near. This can be a fun, yet daunting experience depending on your familiarity with the type of travel you plan on taking. The right backpack can make a world of difference. You can get something very specific to the type of trip you are taking, like a backcountry skiing backpack. Or, get a more diverse backpack that might lack some of the features like the great compartmentalization you might have gotten on a sport specific backpack like a backcountry skiing backpack, but offer more flexibility in its usage. Spending a little extra in the backpack department always seems to pay off in the long run. Here are my reviews of the best travel backpacks. I’ve included sport specific and more generic packs. Safe Travels!

Travel Backpack Comparison Table

Image

Model

Size

Weight

Price

Rating

The North Face Borealis Unisex Backpack

19 x 13.5

x 7.5 in.

2.4 lbs.

$

Osprey Packs Kode 32

3 Sizes

Various

$$$

JanSport Big Student Classics Series

17.5 x 13

x 10 in.

1.5 lbs

$

Patagonia Ascensionist Daypack 35L

21 x 12

 x 5 in.

2.6 lbs.

$$$

SwissGear Blue Ibex Computer Backpack

19.6 x 17.3

x 4.8in.

3.4 lbs

$

The North Face Borealis is a long lasting, super durable pack that is just the right size. Not too big, but not too small. This pack could win the diversity award right off the bat. This pack has two compartments. One large open section and another that’s about ¾ the size of the large section that contains several organizational sleeves that could be used for a variety of things including laptops, tablets and really any kind of gear. There’s a mesh water bottle compartment on the exterior making it good for hiking as well! The foam back panel offers extra back support and along with the extra comfy “FlexVent injection-molded” shoulder straps, this backpack is easily one of the best travel backpacks on the market.

2. Osprey Kode 32 Backpack

Osprey is another very reliable brand. I’ve used these packs deep in the wintertime backcountry and they can take a beating! This pack is a little more expensive than the Travel Porter pack that Ospreys also sells but I think this bag is worth the extra dough. Here’s why; The Kode 32 pack is wonderful for traveling, hiking, skiing or snowboarding. This pack’s main function is for backcountry skiing and snowboarding but it also happens to be my favorite travel bag. The amazing organization for backcountry gear in the front compartment leaves the entire separate back zipper compartment open for layers or whatever you may need for your adventure. I’ve also taken my Kode on planes and busses with ease. The waist and chest straps help to take the load off and make it easier to carry the extra weight that clothes can add while traveling.

Ahh, the classic. This pack has now been used for decades, yes, decades. We are that old. Its simple design allows for the user to organize any way they wish. I can remember waking with this backpack through rain, sleet, hail and snow just to wait for the school bus. Nonetheless, my books were always dry as a bone. With its double large compartment design and additional storage in the front, including a small double pouched zipper section at the bottom and mesh water bottle storage on the side, this backpack is ready for any week or even month long adventure (if you know how to pack it right). For sure, this pack is one of the best travel backpacks around.

4. Patagonia Ascensionist Pack

This medium-largish sized bag’s intended use is for pretty gnarly dudes and dudettes who want to ice climb! However, as awesome as a climbing bag as this is, it’s secretly an even better traveling bag. This 45-liter pack is about as simple yet as effective as they come. One small top compartment that closes with a zipper and the main large compartment that opens from the top opens plenty wide to dig down to the bottom and access whatever gear or pair of underwear you accidentally stuffed all the way at the bottom. Don’t worry, it happens. Patagonia’s Ascensionist Pack has got you covered.

5. SwissGear Ibex Computer Backpack

When wearing backpacks with padded back panels you’re almost guaranteed a back-sweat soaked shirt when removing said pack. The Ibex address this issue with its airflow channels while not giving up anything in the comfort department. This backpack has a dedicated computer slot, which can hold a 17 inch wide screened device! There’s tons of extra padding around it which is great for a traveler who takes their computer with them a lot but is, let’s say, a little rough on their stuff. There are 3 main compartments with plenty of room for everything you may need for your next adventure.

Well there you have it. The best travel backpacks for the traveler who wants to pack what they need, while not stressing about digging for it in unorganized packs. The best travel backpacks can be used in a variety of situations, in mountains or deserts or in airports or on busses. These packs can take it all. I hope you’re able to find one of the best travel backpacks out there for your adventure! If you'd like to see a list of backpacks geared more for women, check out the Best Travel Backpacks for Women. And if you want to see what to stuff your backpack with, don't miss the Best Travel Accessories!

Best Travel Accessories

Kristine R.
By Kristine R. / November 8, 2016

Traveling - whether for business or pleasure - can be a stressful endeavor. Unfortunately, even the best planner can be dragged down into chaos and confusion by ineffective travel accessories. Just as it is important to plan ahead, anticipating delays and emergencies, it is also requisite to find the traveling tools that will ease the way. Once the proper tools are in place, the traveler can then plan appropriately. These are the best travel accessories that will provide that foundation, enabling a successful trip, and readying the globetrotter to face anything that comes her way.

Travel Accessories Table

Image

Model

Size

Weight

Price

Rating

eBags Pack-it-Flat Toiletry Kit

2.2 x 15

x 9.2 in.

11.2 oz.

$

Anker Astro E3 Portable Charger

5.4 x 2.6

x 0.7 in.

8.2 oz.

$$

Bose QC20 Noise Cancelling Headphones

5 x 2.4

x 7.8 in.

10.6 oz.

$$$

Travelrest Ultimate Memory Travel Pillow

12.6 x 12.3

 x 5 in.

13 oz.

$

Bonazza Universal World Travel Power Adapter

2.7 x 1.8

x 2.2 in.

4.6 oz.

$

Thanks to liquid related security measures, today we have to juggle numerous tiny bottles and tubes, necessitating a reconsideration of toiletry kits. From size to safety, the eBags kit balances many needs and is a solid addition to your travel assembly.

First, the size and space in the design of the eBags kit is phenomenal. The flat form of it allows the traveler to place it easily in their luggage or tuck it away in a carry on. It is expandable, making it useful for different trip lengths or for those who always need to bring extra items. The kit also contains a pocket with plastic lining, which minimizes the occasional unfortunate liquid spill. Finally, a lifetime warranty guarantees that the user won’t regret their purchase.

2. Anker Astro E3 Portable Charger

Traveling is unpredictable and today we rely on our phones regularly. This is why we tend to keep an close eye on our device’s battery life. There are few worse feelings than needing to pull up your flight information or directions and seeing that your once buzzing life-saver has become useless dead weight. This is why bringing a portable charger on a trip is incredibly important, and there are few of these more qualified than the Anker Astro E3.

There are three important qualities in a portable charger: size, time to charge, and charge capacity. The Anker Astro E3 charger is small and weighs in at just over half a pound. It also charges quickly compared to other brands, coming in at six hours. Once charged, it has three USB outputs that can be used multiple times to power up any type of smartphone.

Everyone has moments while traveling that you need a moment of peace and quiet. If you are a traveling professional, you know how difficult it is to get work done while at an airport or on a plane or train. Constant noise and interruptions quickly downgrades productivity and frustrates those trying to relax. Quality noise cancelling headphones are the best solution, and Bose QC20 is consistently ranked as the best option.

You may be reluctant to use noise cancelling headphones because you imagine a large bulky set of over ear headphones that would need to be stored, taking up valuable room. The Bose QC20 is an inner ear set of headphones that are unobtrusive and effective, weighing only 1.5 ounces. This means that they are a viable option for those making frequent short flights as well as those who are in it for the long haul.

4. Travelrest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow

If travelers have a busy schedule or if the trip will be long, travel pillows can minimize discomfort and enable a few hours of rest in between bouts of hurried activity. The key, as always, is efficiency. The Travelrest pillow provides this by packing down to a small roll that takes up minimal space, and yet providing comfortable support around your neck and shoulders. Additionally, the cover can be removed and washed between uses.

5. Bonazza Universal World Travel Power Adaptor

Hair dryers, straighteners, phone and computer wall chargers are all devices that usually require an electrical outlet. This can be frustrating when we travel as outlets may vary by country. An experienced traveler will know this and want to be prepared. Fortunately, the Bonazza power adaptor will prepare a user for almost every outlet. The product is also compactly designed, making it an easy addition to a traveler’s baggage. Further, it includes two USB ports in its design, allow for the charge of multiple devices.

These top travel accessories will prepare a traveler for a wide variety of circumstances and help them to avoid common pitfalls. There are any number of difficulties that will be encountered when traveling regularly, but with research and adequate preparation, a traveler can enjoy themselves throughout. These accessories will result in a smoother trip and a calmer, more prepared sightseer. And if you'd like to find the best backpack to store your toys in, be sure to check our Best Travel Backpacks (Unisex) and Travel Backpacks for ladies.

Best Action Cameras

John C.
By John C. / November 7, 2016

If you don’t capture your adventure, did it really happen? Of course it did, and many times adventures are best had when the cameras are left at home. But more often than not on that big powder day, or that clean glassy day on the water you want some footage to show off to your friends and score some fake Internet points. C’mon who doesn’t? The best action cameras can make you look like a pro, but an inferior camera can turn the most epic run, wave, skydive (whatever) into boring and dull videos that no editing software can repair. Here’s my list of the best action cameras to make sure your adventures look epic for all to enjoy!

Action Camera Comparison Table

Image

Model

Size

Weight

Price

Rating

GoPro Hero 5

1.3  x 2.4

x 1.6 in.

4 oz.

$$$

Sony HDRAS20 Action Camera

4.8 x 3 x 6.5 in

1.1 lbs.

$$

Olympus TG-Tracker

3.7 x 1.4

x 2.2 in.

6.4 oz.

$$$

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Action Camera

2.4 x 1.2

 x 1.6 in.

3.2 oz.

$$$

ISAW Edge 4K Action

Camera

2.3 x 0.9

x 1.6 in.

2.2 oz.

$$

One thing that stands out from the list is that all the cameras have the same four star rating. While GoPro has the brand recognition, the other models rival it in terms of technology. Other factors need to be considered, such as size, aesthetics and price. The Sony is the largest camera and the GoPro is extremely compact so your choice will also depend on how large a unit you want to carry. So in no particular order, here is a brief review of each action camera.

The new GoPro has some serious upgrades that should make your choice between the older and now cheaper Hero 4 and this new model quite difficult. The ever-trustworthy action camera company has straightforward controls and now with footage in ridiculously sharp 4k this camera is a true beast. The fish eye lens, featured on all GoPro models makes this camera’s videos the best of all action cameras out there. With a wider and clearer shot your footage will capture way more at a higher resolution. And with GoPro’s editing app you can customize your footage on the way home, as long as you’re not driving.

2. Sony HDRAS20

Sony’s Action Cam, my first camera. I used this camera for quite a few years, mostly for snowboarding and hiking and loved it. However, I also had a wish list if I were to remodel it myself. Listen up Sony. This camera can produce some HIGH QUALITY footage comparable to the GoPro’s, but the lack of the fish eye lens means you capture less of the goods. Also, because of the way this camera is shaped, it's best mounted (if that’s your intent) on a side mount. It produces awesome footage, but it feels different than your typical top of head mount that the GoPro utilizes. You can mount this camera anyway you want, but the selfie stick footage with this bad boy rules all. The steady shot image stabilization helps to make this camera one of the best action cameras out there.

Welcome to the future of action cameras. The Olympus TG tracker is tough on the outside (no need for protective housing here) and down right scientific on the inside. Let’s check it out. This camera features a data log mode, where you can track your stats even if you're not shooting any videos. The sensors on the front act as an LED light (helpful for shooting in darker conditions) as well as an information-gathering center for your adventures. This feature can sense GPS, altitude and depth, speed, temperature and more. These features combined with 4K capability and an extra wide, high speed lens, will help capture your adventures in the most favorable light. Clearly this “smart” camera is one of the best action cameras on the market.

4. Garmin VIRB Ultra 30

Many camera enthusiasts are calling this the GoPro killer and it’s easy to see why. They look very similar and the features are comparable to the Hero 4 but the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 comes in at a lower price point. But many reviewers believe this camera has a simpler user interface. Another “smart” camera. This action camera comes from one of the leading GPS companies, so of course it features a killer data system, which can tell you your location, altitude and a plethora of other data. This camera even knows when you’re skiing! Ski mode will film and track you as you travel downhill, but stop when you’re at the bar. The main difference between this camera and the others on our list is the fact that this camera’s battery lasts, even in very cold temperatures. For those who want a more economical alternative to GoPro, this is the one to get!

5. ISAW Edge

The ISAW Edge camera falls on the lower priced end of the spectrum, but that doesn’t mean you really have to sacrifice much. Here’s the deal. This camera features a flat wipe-clean lens that really allows you to nail the perfect shot. With footage comparable to the GoPro this camera offers an affordable option with some sweet features such as a sleek and slim shape and built in WiFi that allows you to control your camera from up to 15 feet away.

There you have it, the best action cameras on the market. Don’t let an inferior camera ruin the footage that could’ve gotten you sponsored! Also be sure to check our Best Travel Accessories!

Best Turntables Under $500

John C.
By John C. / October 31, 2016

With the recent uptick in vinyl’s popularity, many people find themselves wondering how they can take the steps to start enjoying this classic music form. If you’re anything like me, you’re interested in the best quality music that a budget can buy. Whether you’re a seasoned audiophile or a beginner to the glorious world of vinyl, these top rated turntables will deliver awesome performance without breaking the bank!

Turntable Comparison Table

Image

Model

Size

Weight

Price

Rating

Pro-ject Debut Carbon

19.1 x 15.6 x 10.6 in.

12.3 lbs.

$$$

Rega RP1

15 x 17.5 x  4.5 in.

9.2 lbs.

$$$

U-Turn Orbit Plus

19.2 x 16 x  9.5 in.

14.2 lbs.

$$$

Music Hall   MMF 2.2

20  x 11 x

 6.2 in.

19 lbs.

$$$

Denon  

DP 300-F

17.1 x 15 x

4.8 in.

12.1 lbs.

$$

Vinyl has long been touted as a higher quality music experience, but it has also always required the upfront investment in a turntable to listen to it. In this article I’m going to present the top 5 turntables under $500 based on turntable reviews and popular opinion. It is my hope that by presenting a list of affordable, high quality turntables currently on the market, I can encourage those of you looking to get their start in vinyl to jump right in.

1. Pro-ject Debut Carbon

This first turntable is sleek modern take on a classic device by Pro-ject Audio Systems. The Debut Carbon boasts a strengthened 8.6” carbon tonearm that reduces resonance to a minimum. Between that, the quiet-run DC power supply and the weight of the Debut Carbon itself, the records are held firmly and quietly in place, allowing for a pleasant and undistorted music listening experience. Highly respected in the world of turntables, the Debut Carbon is the best turntable a vinyl head on a budget can buy. And with seven available color options, there’s a Debut Carbon for everyone!

2. Rega RP1

Produced by a firm out of the UK, the Rega RP1 boasts a minimalist and precise design that provides for a handsome aesthetic and high sound quality. A premium feature of the RP1 is its use of a manual, rather than automatic, speed change. This prevents inconsistencies in the belt speed and, in turn, prevents excessive wear on the drive belt itself. Most would agree that the Rega RP1 is a responsible purchase for music lovers everywhere.

3. U-Turn Orbit Plus

The Orbit Plus from U-Turn Audio is a fun and modern take on the turntable. Available in five colors ranging from Lime Green to Black, the Orbit Plus offers premium value for those looking to get their feet wet in the vinyl market. The Orbit Plus’ high-quality acrylic platter base delivers enhanced speed consistency for a better sound. This turntable comes pre-equipped with a Grado Black1 cartridge, known for richer and fuller sounds. The Orbit Plus clearly provides very good value for the cost.

4. Music Hall MMF 2.2

The next turntable on the list is a two-speed, belt driven turntable that delivers high quality sound for a surprisingly low price. The Music Hall MMF 2.2 is constructed out of a high quality stainless steel and bronze-bearing assembly, decorated in one of three distinct finishes. Available in piano black, Ferrari red, or high gloss white, the MMF certainly boasts the most unique appearance on this list. Being the lowest price option on our list, Music Hall has certainly succeeded in bringing a low-cost, high quality turntable to market.

5. Denon DP 300-F

The American-made Denon DP 300-F is the last turntable on our list, but cannot be overlooked. Constructed with a heavier base, the DP 300-F provides a more stable surface for playing vinyl. And with a detachable dust cover, there’s no need to worry about damaging your valuable collection. The automatic startup feature allows you to play your records at the push of a button, and after finishing the DP 300-F will automatically return the tonearm to the armrest gently and securely. With so many features it’s truly stunning that Denon managed to price the DP 300-F well under $500! This turntable is definitely worth looking into for those of you looking for value on a budget.

And so I conclude my presentation of the 5 Best Turntables for Under $500. But before I let you go I need to make something clear. This list is by no means a comprehensive review of the turntable market. Vinyl as a hobby and passion is a burgeoning community and turntable technology is constantly improving. While it is my hope that you will take this list to heart and hopefully use it to get your start in the world of vinyl, I also want to encourage a broader interest in the hobby as a whole. This list may help you find your first turntable, but you surely won’t stop there. There’s a whole world of vinyl and turntables out there waiting to be discovered and explored. I hope you enjoy the adventure! And for a list of great speakers to use with your new turntable, be sure to check our Best Bookshelf Speakers!

Best Budget Bookshelf Speakers

John C.
By John C. / October 31, 2016

So you want to step up your audio game? Not loaded with cash? Me neither. But I’ve been playing, teaching and listening to a pretty eclectic blend of music almost my entire life and I always have a good setup for listening to music or watching movies in my apartments. In New York City and the like, bookshelf speakers are the perfect addition to your audio systems. They aren’t huge but they can add quite a noticeable punch to your audio output. You can also purchase them as an add-on to home theater systems. If you’re like me, it’s always slowly but surely when it comes to buying quality toys, and bookshelf speakers make listening like a king on a budget possible. Here’s my list of the 5 top best bookshelf speakers under $400.

Bookshelf Speaker Comparison Table

Image

Model

Size

Weight

Price

Rating

Polk Audio RTI A1

12  x 11.5

x 7 in.

12 lbs.

$$$

Sony SSCS5

17.8 x 10.7

x 16.2 in.

19.9 lbs.

$$$

Pioneer SP-BS22-LR

8.4 x 7.1

x 12.6 in.

9.1 lbs.

$$$

Edifier R1280T

6.9 x 9.4

 x 5.7 in.

10.8 lbs.

$$$

Dayton Audio​

B652

6.4 x 7.1

x 11.8 in.

11.6 lbs.

$$

As you can see from the ratings above, all of these speakers deliver great value for the buck. Since the listening experience is a highly personal one, there is no clear cut winner here. Other factors need to be considered, such as size, aesthetics and price. So in no particular order, here is a brief review of each one.

What beauties! The Polk Audio RTI AI is at the top of the budget, but when considering that Polk has been in the speaker game since 1972, and they’ve been killing it, these real wood bookshelf speakers are worth it every penny. Here’s why; First off, they’ve upgraded their driver which makes the bass bassier (that’s not a word) and those highs stand out even more, without getting ear piercing. It also has their definitive Power Port Plus technology which helps reduce any extra “noise” that may naturally occur when hooking up to an audio source. These speakers are beautiful, sound beautiful and are still under our budget. Go Polk!

2. Sony SSCS5 

If you’re looking to spend closer to $200, the Sony SSCS5 might be your best bet. Lacking the wood, but delivering unbelievably lifelike quality right to your living room these Sony’s pack a wallop. They’re sporting a 3 way, 3 driver system (kind of like 3 speaker outputs in each speaker…can you picture it? Just check out the link!) This helps deliver a wide sweet spot. These speakers can handle a lot with up to 50 kHz of high-resolution audio output power. The tight bass, crisp sound overall and a crossover network (adapters), which aids in minimal signal loss, all help replicate the original audio experience of the studio recording. These are some of the best bookshelf speakers on the market for sure!

These curved cabinets are sound efficient! From their sleek design to their added structure surface to the woofer (which helps to improve the bass) the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones Designed Bookshelf speakers are budget friendly and ear friendly. I love these speakers mainly because they can fill a room. When I evaluate speakers, or sound quality, whether it be a guitar amp, snare drum or speakers themselves I always think to myself, “how will they sound in the setting that they’re about to be played in?” These versatile bookshelf speakers can fit a variety of home venues, as they are one of the best bookshelf speakers on the market and will be a welcome addition to your home theater or speaker system setup.

4. Edifier R1280T

And we’ve hit well below the $200 mark! The Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers are an easy option if your main concern is setting up sweet sounding speakers in a hurry. It comes with everything you need to plug in your smartphone and Spotify your party to the next level. No need to get technical here but ease of the controls and the quality of the natural sound reproduction make these speakers the number 1 choice at their price point and are one of the best bookshelf speakers on the market overall.

5. Dayton Audio B652

Last but not least, these are the least expensive speakers on the list. But don't let that fool you. They sound good, they look good, what more do you want?! Let me tell you why these speakers might be your best bet. The Dayton Audio B652’s are an incredible deal for the price. Coming in at under 12 inches tall these unobtrusive yet mighty speakers are the value winner for the best bookshelf speakers out there simply because of their surprisingly clear sound at this price.

Rock on rockers, watch on watchers and let a pair of the best bookshelf speakers out there help make the experience, whatever it may be come alive in your home! And be sure to check our pick of Best Turntables to use with your new speakers!